Lease   /   October 9, 2020   /   By Paul Bubny

Office Landlords Have Their Work Cut Out for Them

Architecture firm Margulies Perruzzi surveyed thousands of industry professionals this past spring to gain an understanding of the impact that COVID-19 had on the office environment. Beyond questions of how extensively tenants plan to use their spaces post-pandemic, the results of the survey make it clear that landlords will have their work cut out for them.

A report Margulies Perruzzi has issued identifies some of the key challenges landlords will face as tenants return. They include: complying with social distancing in common areas; increasing security/safety protocols; increasing HVAC performance and outside air intake; providing hands-free options; reduction in public transportation use; and reduction of on-site employees by tenant.

Reducing occupancy doesn’t necessarily mean reducing square footage, but it can entail a need to reconfigure the layout to accommodate a need for more square footage per seat. Pre-pandemic, that figure was often 125 square feet; post-pandemic, it will be upwards of 200 square feet, according to the survey.

Further, the report says, “as tenants think about coming back to the office or looking for new space, you should be prepared to answer many new questions.” They may include the following:

• What HVAC upgrades have been done to the building?
• Do you have any building entrance screening procedures in place?
• What technology upgrades have been made to allow us to monitor the HVAC, occupancy and security of our space?
• How is food service or food delivery being handled to the building?
• With public transportation not in full use, how much parking is available for my colleagues?
• How are high-touch surfaces being addressed?
• Is there more fresh air in the building today?
• What level of LEED/WELL Building standards do you have in place in your building?
• How will you regulate the fitness center?
• Do you have any grab-n-go food service amenities?
• Is there outdoor space for eating?
• How are restrooms being managed? Are there unisex restrooms for our staff to use?
• How are elevator controls being used? Are they programmed to fit our needs? Are there dedicated elevators for our company?
• What are the protocols regarding visitors? Do you have a shared conference space near the main lobby that we could utilize?
• Are security/entrance fobs touch-free?
• Has the door hardware in the lobby been upgraded to be touch-free?

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